Home > Coaching, Coping, Growth, Happiness, Life in general, Personal progress, professional progress, stress > Those “IF” statements: From Disempowering Ones to More Empowering Others

Those “IF” statements: From Disempowering Ones to More Empowering Others

In the spirit of wrapping up the year 2009, I embarked on my usual – more focused – appraisal of how things went by the past year and the framework needed to welcome the coming year. This review is my usual practice through out the year; and I seldom wait for the New Year to make resolutions and assessments. I like to toy around with my thoughts now and then by giving them some free rein to wander unrestricted to realms outside reality. This stems from a need to balance my excessive practical and realistic nature with some fantasy-like escape resort. I need to nourish that dreamer aspect of mine; it is these dreams that keep me working at full speed every so often.

In some of my weak moments, my day dreaming is not all that glorious or empowering. During such a trance-like state just a while ago, I caught myself using “if only” statements as my mind rambled around. I didn’t like the outcome. Let me share with you how the process went by. Come on, let’s try this exercise together and fill in the following blanks. Check how these make you feel:

 Example: If only I were ________________________ (a male not a female)

If only I could undo _____________________________________________

If only my _____________________ were ___________________________

If only it was socially acceptable to __________________________________

If only I lived ___________________________________________________

If only I had ____________________________________________________

If only I had done_________________ not ____________________________

 I don’t know about you, but when I filled in these spaces with things I wished I had done, or had, or didn’t do, or wished others to have done things differently, I felt so down and wane. Those “If only” statements point to things that are either unreal in my life, or are very real but are past and done already. They are so disempowering. Can we ever undo the past? Do we have unlimited power to change about everything? Sadly, the answer is no and no. What do we do then?

 It’s Okay to dream of what we can’t change. Sometimes it’s a healthy way to satisfy the impossible. The better way still is to dream the feasible (no matter how difficult it may seem). Dig yourself back from the rut and change those “if only” statements to “what if”….. Come on, fill those blanks with me once again. Something like:

 Example: What if I could __________________(have that male career status)

What if I can in fact have a _________________________________________

What if I can live _________________________________________________

What if I can get __________________________________________________

What if I work on becoming __________________________________________

What if I can forgive _______________ wrong doing and __________________

What if I can forget _____________________ and _______________________

 Now that feels better. How about you? It put me at a mobilized state for action. These statements are so motivating. They gave me back some control over how to steer the wheel. I feel hopeful, energized, and have a purpose. I am in a better mind-set. I am looking forward to a challenge; I am more empowered. It’s okay to assess, then, and wish things to have been different, but that is behind now. It’s in the past. I have better chances for the future. There is a way out if I can think it. When things can’t change, I’m better of considering what I can control. I can look within me for answers. It is these assumptions of “what if I…” that empower me and deserve my focus; not those “if only” statements that pull me back and leave me disempowered….

  1. M.S
    December 23, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Very Nice article
    Positive language or what so called positive self talk has tremendous effect on the way we think and behave as well, which creates the what so called motivation.
    Awaiting some articles on how to transform this motivation to actions that has depths.


    • dddania
      December 24, 2009 at 5:32 am

      Hey Moe 🙂

      How wonderful of you to drop by 🙂 (I’m wondering how you got the time to read this amidst your busy schedule 🙂 )
      Regarding your question on how to move into the “action” mode, I wrote something in earlier posts that could give some insight. Check out “Moving forward (2) – Few Tips. These could be somewhat inspiring 😉

      Thanks again Moe for joining in 🙂


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